In 1918, one third of everyone on Earth became infected with pandemic influenza H1N1—the La Mookie Magic Shirt Apart from…,I will love this Spanish flu, an infection that would ultimately kill 50 million people. That fall, the health commissioner in my home city of St. Louis would aggressively shut down sites of public gathering: the schools, playgrounds, theaters, churches, taverns. Business owners howled and police arrested recalcitrant barkeeps. In contrast, Philadelphia continued as usual and refused to cancel a parade. St. Louis would see one of the lowest mortality rates among major American cities. Philadelphia would experience five times the death rate, its hospitals overflowing within a week of the parade.
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